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I can’t believe I’m sitting here today NOT looking forward to the World Cup this summer. Having the US miss the World Cup for the first time in my adult life is a very hard pill to swallow.
This is a youth soccer podcast so I usually don’t focus on national team or professional results and news but this is something that will deeply affect youth soccer in this country, OR AT LEAST IT SHOULD!
I’d already planned to discuss another topic this week so I decided to go ahead with that so that I could have some time to completely absorb the whole qualification nightmare and describe my feelings and where I think we go from here. So I’ll discuss that on next week’s podcast.
This week’s question comes from Nick
He asks about playing up
“This group played up last season at u10 while they were u9. They essentially dominated every tournament and their local league play. The parents and league wanted them to play up to u11 this season instead of on age. I was very hesitant about this based on the field size change, player amounts, and general increased physicality they would encounter. I was overruled and we did encounter my anticipated struggles through our first tournament and couple of league games.
This past weekend we had a complete meltdown in our first game of a tournament and I was convinced that we were done with this experiment and needed to play on age. However, the 2nd and 3rd games saw much improved team play and attempted incorporation of our team philosophy’s. I was very pleased with this obviously.
My first instinct is to continue at u11 (the middle divisions) and try and build on these last 2 games in preparation for true U11 competition next year. Some parents are for that and others want to play on age. My guess is their reasoning for that is so we win and score lots of goals.
Can you please give me your thoughts on playing up as a team in preparation for the following year?”
Thanks for the question Nick!
I talked about playing up on one of the previous episodes. It’s a tough choice especially at U10 since you have to go from 7v7 to 9v9. I have a very good boys team that’s in the same boat. I’ve decided to keep them at U10 because I don’t want to make the jump to 9v9. I feel like they have more to learn and understand about 7v7 that they may miss if we change over too soon.
There seems to be a rush for teams to get to the next step rather than really focus on what can be learned from the current format.
In This Episode
I’ve been thinking a lot about this week’s topic since I decided to discuss it. It even affected the way I coached my teams the following weekend. It’s the whole idea of, ‘Silent Saturdays’. If you haven’t heard about this idea before in this episode I’ll tell you how it started, what the goal is and how I think it’s really missing the point.
Next week I’ll discuss my perspective on the US Men’s National team’s elimination from qualifying, how it impacts youth soccer and where we go from here.
I agree with you. It seems Sideline Saturdays is a half thought out concept.
** Parent coaching from the sideline is not helpful, however, positive reinforcement and good natured cheering can be. This is about training our parents.
** Similarly, coaches that yell instructions to their players may address an immediate in game need, but are not building the capacity for their players to problem solve the next time the same situation arises. Coaches should be helping their players learn how to make good decisions on the field. This can be done on the sideline through one on one discussions but can also be done while the player is In the game by asking them questions such as : “Johnny, do you think you’re in a supporting position to receive a pass?” The coach here is not giving the player the answer but giving them an opportunity to work through a problem on their own. In my mind, this is very useful and Silent Saturdays would take this development opportunity away.